As the former First Lady Agatha Kanziga Habyarimana awaits the ruling by a top French court over her appeal for asylum, there are fears that she might escape justice if extradited to another country.
Alain Gauthier, President of the Paris-based umbrella organisation - “Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda” (CPCR) which advocates for the rights of the 1994 Genocide survivors revealed the organisation’s worst fears, in an email to The New Times yesterday.
“If Madame Kanziga does not obtain refugee status, France will have to decide either to depot her or to leave her where she is; but (then) she will always be without papers. Extradition to Rwanda seems unthinkable,” Gauthier noted.
And this partly explains Gauthier’s concern.
“Extradition to another country would risk seeing her escaping any form of justice. It is what we fear.”
“We thus ask that, if she is not extradited to Rwanda let her be prosecuted in France.”
The former First Lady is accused of having been among the key architects of the 1994 Genocide, having been a core member of an extremist cell that was referred to as Akazu.
She is awaiting verdict for an asylum appeal she lodged at the highest French administrative court, following her appearance before the court on Wednesday.
The court is due to pronounce itself in two to three weeks time. Gauthier notes that France has universal jurisdiction to prosecute Habyarimana.
The same organisation filed a lawsuit against the former First Lady in 2007 and according to Gauthier, they are closely monitoring her asylum battles.
Habyarimana’s battle for refugee status moved to Paris’ State Council after her request for asylum was in January 2007 turned down by France’s refugee office (OFPRA).
For over the last decade, Habyarimana has crisscrossed Africa, especially the former Zaire (now DRC) and Gabon until she returned to France in 1998, with a Gabonese passport.